On Saturday 1st December 2018, I had the pleasure of a half stall at Leeds City Museum 11am - 4pm as part of Etsy's official Christmas event, Etsy Made Local, in which individual Etsy teams across the nation put together their own events.
It was soooo exciting to be accepted for this stall as Etsy is my main selling platform and hundreds of people applied specifically for the Leeds event for very limited spaces, so to be accepted was huge validation for me that my work is actually half decent! It's also my only Christmas fair this year and after the massive flops I've had before I was really eager to showcase my work at a "proper" fair that my ideal customers would hopefully be attending!
I was reading through some blog posts the week before the event and read that doing a practice run of your stall layout before the day is really helpful, so I decided to give that a try. The stall size was 3 ft x 3 ft, which conveniently fit perfectly on top of my new work desk.
I tried adding height to the stall by using the card rack and props to sit products upright, as well as my brand new peg board (from Primark!!). I think this worked really well as in a busy room it can be quite hard to see table tops when people are stood in front of them, or even just hard to see from far away, whereas adding height to your stall means it can be seen easily at eye-level. My sloth zines are one of my best-selling items, so I made sure to put them in the centre of the table. This paid off pretty well on the day as the zines tended to be the first thing people would reach out to. The little baskets for the vinyl sloth stickers and pin badges also worked really well as kids would reach into them to grab things which resulted in their parents buying them (ty kids). The fairy lights were a nice addition too; I added them to make the stall appear festive however I really liked them so I might just use them at all my future stalls!
It was really handy having a visual guide to tell me where all the items went - especially because I turned up a bit late on the day so really had to rush to get everything set out on time. I dread to think what would have happened if I hadn't already decided on a layout the day before, as with the added time pressure my stall would have been a jumbled mess! The actual table was slightly smaller than the 3ft x 3ft we were offered too, so I'm v glad I came prepared!! One thing that will help for next time, is to print out my price list and keep it fastened to the back of the card rack as I kept forgetting my prices and mis-charging people (whoops!).
I also got a new card reader especially for the stall as Square were doing a deal that gave Etsy Made Local sellers a free (!!!) card reader with 0% processing fees on the first £1000. If that wasn't enough to seal the deal, Square also links direct to Etsy, which means my whole inventory linked straight to the app AND all sales made on the day (including cash) linked straight to my Etsy store, bumping my sales up a huge amount on the day! I'm so so happy I made the impulse decision to get a Square reader because it's honestly faultless.
On the Day:
As I mentioned before, in true Bronte fashion - I was late. A combination of me not realising how long it would actually take to get there and a wrong turn in the city centre meant that we turned up at the venue with approx. 15 minutes to get set up and ready to welcome the first visitors (there was already a lonnnng queue formed outside as we were arriving at the venue). Luckily, all my stuff was really easy to set up, so I managed to set up just in time! There were goodie bags ready for the first 100 people and SO many people came in when the doors opened. And it didn't stop. My experience of craft fairs normally is that the crowds tend to ebb and flow, with busy and quiet periods. But the crowds never died down for the full time we were open! There were still customers trying to get in 5 minutes before closing! The day went super fast and I had consistent sales throughout, so I really loved it! It was really interesting to see which products people would gravitate for, and I also noticed a lot of people searching through my box of pin badges to try find different designs, so I will bare that in mind when thinking of new product ideas. A lot of my customers bought multiple products too, which I wasn't really expecting as most of my Etsy orders are single-item sales. One very consistent message I received through the day was that people had close friends and relatives who were "sloth mad" and were buying for them, which supports my re-brand into a gift-shop.
This picture shows the huge screen that was constantly projecting images of each of our shops on a loop - I found it so distracting as it was right in my line of sight and it was so interesting to see what everyone else made. I loved seeing my sloths so huge on the big screen!
Overall, it was 100% the best craft fair I have had the privilege to sell at and I hope my lateness won't affect my application next year as I would love to do it again! A combination of the fun + sales I had on the day, plus my urge to use my funky new card reader again means I would love to apply for more stalls next year to try encourage sales and income, but unfortunately I work Saturdays at my new part-time job so it might not be so easy.